When should you take your pet to the ER?

I just heard yet another horror story about a pet owner who waited too long to take her pet to the emergency clinic.

There are countless reasons to visit the ER with a cat or a dog, so what follows is certainly not a complete list. I organized the most common signs in 4 categories.

You should seek emergency help in the following situations.

 

General signs:

. Collapse or severe weakness

. Bleeding, external or internal

. Severe lethargy

. Trauma of any type, if it is violent enough to cause an injury or a pain reaction

. Any kind of gunshot

. Severe pain

. Jaundice (yellow gums and eyes)

. Discharge from the vulva

. Pus coming from just about anywhere

. Many things related to eyeballs: pain, bulging, squinting, scratches.

. Seizures or tremors/shaking

. Difficulty giving birth

 

GI & urinary signs:

. Severe or ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, with or without blood

. Retching, ie an unsuccessful attempt at vomiting

. Significant decrease in appetite for more than 24 hours, or complete loss

. Straining to urinate or defecate

. Eating a poison of any type

. Bloating or a distended belly

 

Respiratory signs:

. Difficulty breathing of any sort

. Severe or ongoing coughing

 

Orthopedic signs:

. Limping

. Broken bone

. Painful joint

. Dragging of or weakness in one leg or more

 

Ultimately, just about anything that worries you is a reason to go to your local emergency clinic. Think about it. What’s better, a false alarm, or arriving too late? If you’re not sure what to do, at least call please the staff at the emergency clinic to ask what they recommend.

 

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free Certified

Dr. Phil Zeltzman

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a mobile veterinary surgeon and award-winning author who’d like to share his adventures in practice along with information about veterinary medicine that can really help your pets. Sign up to get an email when he updates his blog, and follow him on Facebook, too!